David Kirby (activist)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

David Lawrence Kirby (December 6, 1957 - May 5, 1990) was an HIV/AIDS activist, and the subject of a photograph taken at his deathbed by Therese Frare. The image was published in Life magazine, which called it the "picture that changed the face of AIDS".

The 1990 photo by Therese Frare (in 1992 used in Benetton advertising) depicts his father, sister and niece standing by in anguish. The then 32-year-old Kirby is feeling his life slipping away.

David whispered, "I'm ready," took a last labored breath, then succumbed. The photo was also controversial due to its similarity to a pieta painting.

1992 Benetton advertising campaign

David Kirby dying of AIDS

Following the Life publication, the Kirby family allowed the clothing company United Colors of Benetton to use the image in a 1992 advertising campaign, feeling that its story would reach a worldwide audience.

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